Markus Bendler from Austria wins gold in the Daone Ice Master World Cup, ahead of Simon Wandeler and Herbert Klammer.
Daone 21/01/2007: Markus Bendler from Innsbruck is the new king of Valle di Daone. After an intense competition, after a true “battle” right up to the final ice axe blow, it was the tenacity and great technique of the Austrian that triumphed, ahead of the absolute elegance of Swissman Simon Wandeler and the total power of South Tyrolean ironman Herbert Klammer, third for the second year running. The Austrian champion climber won gold in the first stage of the Ice Climbing World Cup 2007 and in doing so was also crowned Ice Climbing World Bouldering Champion. His effort was unparalleled and only he reached the top of 2 of the 3 final routes, before successfully defending his lead to the bitter end on the extremely long and beautiful third route.
But Bendler's victory was no walk in the park, as the competition took a series of twists and turns, rendering it exciting and full of suspense. In many ways this is what dry tooling is all about – difficult and unpredictable, as technical as powerful, for the strongest only. Which makes the climbs of each of the nine competitors impossible to forget. Starting with Mario Prinoth: his competition was unlucky today, but it was carried out with the usual class that distinguishes this Italian climber. And continuing with Alexey Vagin from Russia and Albert Leichtfried from Austria (8th and 7th respectively) who simply never gave up.
Evgeny Kryvosheytsev's efforts deserve a special mention, too: after a somewhat slow start he startled all with a champion-worthy third round, climbing extremely high on the impressive third route, the one up the long and almost eternal central pillar up the right-hand side of the iced structure. Evgeny was the first to reach the difficult final roof after having ascended the marathon first dry tooling panel, three hanging drips at half-height and then the second long dry tooling section… All he needed was to climb past the rock solid final roof. But time ran out, and it was soon to be interpreted by others.
First and foremost by Mauro 'Bubu' Bole. The veteran of this competition is understandably loved by the valley spectators and much to their delight he was the first to get close to the top. On the second route he failed to exit from the “dancing” drips beneath the great horizontal roof, but on the third he used all his experience and technique to hook the lip of the final roof. This sapped almost all his energy and resulted in a few true warrior cuts, but netted him 5th overall in what was no doubt an excellent competition for him (perhaps his best ever in Daone).
Russian Alexey Tomilov produced some beautiful and outstanding climbs, too, gaining two places compared to the provisional Semifinal results to finish 4th overall. All this thanks to his top on the first route (copied by Bendler only) and his fantastic climb on the third. It has to be added that Tomilov had plenty of time to rest before setting off on the final route (due to a broken hold having to be replaced), but it must also be added that this did not influence the overall results in any way whatsoever.
In any case the podium was decided by others. By now we should have got used to Herbert Klammer's devastating strength, and after having slipped up on the delicate hooks on the first route's dry tooling section he then powered to the top of the second route before chuffing up to the top of the third. Unfortunately for him though the judges penalized him for having touched out of bounds on the finishing moves – had it been allowed, this would have been the only regular top!
Klammer placed third therefore for the second year running and confirmed, if proof was needed, that he is a world class athlete. Just like Simon Wandeler who is, put simply, a textbook example of climbing style. The Swissman was stopped by the judges on the first route for having used an out-of-bounds hold, before proceeding to the top of the second and third. But in both cases he matched the finishing hold just as time had ran out… resulting in second overall. Markus Bendler made no mistake whatsoever and today he was truly unstoppable. His march to victory was devastating for the rest of the field: top on route 1, top on route 2 and a near miss on route 3, during which he gave all that was possible. No beating about the bush: the Ice Master World Cup 2007 is his, he reigns supreme in Valle di Daone.
And so the VI edition of this great competition in Daone draws to a close, to the applause of the large crowd that gathered here today. Those who followed the competition from the start know that this wasn't an easy adventure. This incredible winter's “sick” temperatures risked stopping play even before it began, risked compromising the efforts of the volunteers and the Pareti di Cristallo committee. But the valley persevered and won. Those who produced the miracle were Maurizio Gallo, the indispensable mind behind this event (as engineer of the ice structure and competition director), the excellent route setters Attilio Munari, Marco and Masssimo da Pozzo, Loris Manzana and Herbert Rauchenker, and all the volunteers of the Pareti di Cristallo committee, headed by the President Romolo Ghezzi and Riccardo Milani, the director of the organisation. In the past Valle di Daone has always concentrated on an exceptional structure ruled by ice. This year it reinvented itself, proposing unparalleled dry tooling in what was surely one of the best competitions ever. This is something to be proud of!
The competition draws to a close but it is important to remember Harry Berger, the Austrian champion who died tragically last December. Harry was remembered on numerous occasions throughout these last three competition days, and he had given much to this Master in Daone, both as an athlete and as a man. This edition is dedicated to him, to his companion Kirsten Buchmann and to his small Zoe!